More than 200 guests gathered at Hastings Stormont Hotel last night to take part in a glittering ceremony to celebrate the inaugural Eastside Awards. The gala event was compered by BBC presenter Tara Mills, and guests were welcomed to the venue by musicians from Grosvenor Grammar School.
The top accolade for Outstanding Contribution was awarded to highly-respected east Belfast businessman James Brown MBE. The unanimous decision to honour Mr Brown was in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to east Belfast throughout his life. Mr Brown, who was educated at Ashfield Boys School, took over the family funeral business on the Newtownards Road when he was 23 after his father’s death and has been involved in the local community for more than 50 years. He serves as chair of Landmark East and has been responsible for a number of improvements along the Newtownards Road. In 2011, Mr Brown received the MBE for his services to the community of east Belfast.
Awards were presented to a range of individuals and organisations spanning the commercial, arts, cultural, community and voluntary sectors. Jonathan McAlpin of awards organisers East Belfast Enterprise, said: “These awards were commissioned to celebrate the stars of east Belfast and to recognise the drive, ambition and passion they have for this little corner of our city in which they play sport, do business, volunteer and entertain.
“It’s been a real labour of love for me to develop the vision into the reality and to see the awards come to life following what has been an extremely well-supported and very successful process.
“I would like to personally congratulate all the winners of the inaugural Eastside Awards and thank the judges for their expertise in the difficult task they had in choosing the finalists and eventual winners from the standard of entries received.”
The Belfast Telegraph sponsored the Eastside Awards, along with George Best Belfast City Airport, Avec Solutions, Connect Telecom, East Belfast Enterprise, The Foundry, Charles Hurst Fleet Financial, McGuinness Fleck, Millar McCall Wylie, NIJobfinder.com, Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd, Solv Group and the Ulster Bank.
The top accolade for Outstanding Contribution was awarded to highly respected East Belfast businessman James Brown MBE. The unanimous decision to honour James recognises the outstanding contribution he has made to East Belfast throughout his life.
The winners of the inaugural Eastside Awards are:
Eastside Award for Tourism sponsored by The Foundry: Belfast City Sightseeing
Eastside Award for Digital Innovation sponsored by Connect Telecom: Big Pixel Creative
Eastside Award for Food Product or Services sponsored by McGuinness Fleck: Little Pink Kitchen
Eastside Award for Contribution to Sport sponsored by Charles Hurst and Fleet Financial: Glentoran Academy
Eastside Award for Contribution to the Arts sponsored by Millar McCall Wylie: Strand Arts Centre
Eastside Award for Education sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas: Go-Berserk
Eastside Award for Contribution from the Community Sector sponsored by Solv Group: Orchardville Society
Eastside Award for Young Person of the Year sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport: Krizzah Policarpio
Eastside Award for Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Avec Solutions: Sean Brannigan
Eastside Award for Business Contribution sponsored by Ulster Bank: Rebound Physio
Eastside Award for Business Growth sponsored by NIJobfinder: GPS Colour Graphics
Eastside Award for Business Start Up sponsored by East Belfast Enterprise: SENsations Learning Support C.I.C.